18 September 1998

Stores are key to soaking up barley surplus

BARLEY exports are unlikely to figure strongly this season, leaving intervention to soak up most of the surplus.

Total UK production of winter barley is put at 4.66m tonnes, almost 10% down on 1997, reflecting the smaller area. Spring varieties should yield about 2.57m tonnes, down 7%.

"With over 1m tonnes carried over in intervention stores, there will be more to market than last year," says Dalgetys Trevor Harriman.

Exportable surplus is put at 3.22m tonnes. Although UK supplies are, like wheat, competitively priced, other exporters like Turkey and Australia are vying for business – and pricing aggressively, with the former recently setting a new low of under £30/t ex farm.

As a result, Dalgety suggests up to 750,000t will go to intervention, taking stocks to over 2m tonnes – the highest level since 1986. &#42